Donald Pleasance and Gary Bond in the 1971 Australian drama by Ted Kotcheff

Australian cult film ‘Wake in Fright’ on Amazon Prime Video

Wake in Fright (1971), one of the seminal works of the New Australian cinema of the seventies, is a brutal, blackly funny thriller of an urban schoolteacher (Gary Bond) posted to the Australian Outback, which is a sun-blasted nightmare as far as he’s concerned. He can’t leave fast enough when his Christmas vacation arrives, but […]

Lucy Davis, Kate Ashfield, Dylan Moran, Simon Pegg, Penelope Wilton, and Nick Frost in the film by Edgar Wright

‘Shaun of the Dead’ – the funniest zombie comedy ever on Hulu

The apocalyptic hysteria of the zombie film has always been pitched on the edge of comedy: a horrible black joke played on humanity by a god with a sick sense of humor. Director/co-writer Edgar Wright and co-writer/star Simon Pegg’s self-proclaimed “rom-zom-com” (romantic zombie comedy) Shaun of the Dead (2004) simply nudges it over the edge. […]

Peter Sellers stars in Stanley Kubrick's political satire of mutually assured destruction

‘Dr. Strangelove’ – the screwball satire of mutually assured destruction on Hulu

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), Stanley Kubrick’s screwball satire of cold war posturing and mutually assured destruction, is the funniest film ever made about nuclear holocaust. But it didn’t begin as a comedy. The source novel, Peter George’s “Red Alert,” was a grave contemplation of the […]

Johannes Kuhnke and Lisa Loven Kongsli star in the Swedish drama from Ruben Östlund

‘Force Majeure’ from Sweden on Hulu

One of the surprises in the 2015 Oscar nominations was that Force Majeure (Sweden, 2014), Sweden’s official entry for the foreign language film category and a Cannes film festival winner, did not place among the five nominated films. Director Ruben Östlund gives us a family on vacation and what appears to be the inciting event […]

Timo Vuorensola directs this German farce about space Nazis.

‘Iron Sky’ – Steampunk Nazis on Amazon Prime

Iron Sky (Germany, 2012) is an inspired concept—Hitler escaped Germany with a cadre of Nazi loyalists and established a colony on the dark side of the moon—executed with total conviction, at least in the details. This isolated outpost lives in a steampunk world forged from the legacy of Krupp machineworks, all giant gears and pistons, […]

Ursula Andress and Marcello Mastroianni star in the satire by Elio Petri

‘The 10th Victim’ – Reality TV is a killer on Amazon Prime

Before The Hunger Games, before Battle Royale, before The Running Man, there was Elio Petri’s The 10th Victim (1965), the original Survivor set in a near future of unlikely fashions and pop-art stylings, where comic books are the literature of the day, murder games have become the dominant form of media entertainment, and war has […]

Aubrey Plaza stars with Elizabeth Olsen in the social media satire turned stalker drama from filmmaker Matt Spicer

‘Ingrid Goes West’ – Aubrey Plaza is following you on Hulu

Aubrey Plaza goes full on stalker in Ingrid Goes West (2017), a discomfortingly funny satire of social media obsession and living virtually through online interaction goes into some dark places. And I don’t mean just the disturbing psychology of our manic heroine or the cutting commentary on the way social media dominates our lives. This […]

Michael Stuhlbarg stars in the 2009 film by Joel and Ethan Coen

The Coen Bros.’ ‘A Serious Man’ – a modern Job on Netflix

A Serious Man (2009) is a serious (and seriously funny) meditation on little themes like the meaning of life and why are we here and how can we know God’s purpose, and is as funny, heartbreaking, questioning, trying, exasperating and sincerely inquisitive a portrait of the human condition as you’ll find on screen. You could […]

John Huston in the film by William Richert

‘Winter Kills’ – The great American conspiracy movie on Amazon Prime

Though technically a work of fiction, Winter Kills (1979, R) is the maddest and most entertaining of Kennedy conspiracy thrillers, a wild kaleidoscope of clashing theories directed with wit and performed with gusto by an astounding cast. Jeff Bridges is the half-brother of an assassinated President who digs up the “truth” 20 years later and […]